At the Baltimore City Council meeting yesterday, the second reading of the Limited-Service Pregnancy Center (LSPC) Disclaimers bill was held. The City Council voted to pass the bill without any major
amendments! However, the bill must still pass through a third reading on Nov. 23.
As you may know already, the LPSC Disclaimers bill would require LPSCs, also known as crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs), to post a sign in English and Spanish saying they do not provide or refer for abortion or birth control services. According to our research, CPCs in Baltimore and across Maryland have given false and misleading information to women.
The bill has garnered support from a wide range of local and state organizations. The Baltimore Sun also supported the measure in an editorial. In an opinion piece in today’s Sun, two Johns Hopkins health professionals, Dr. Eva Moore and Dr. Robert Bloom, characterize the bill perfectly. In the article, titled “Crisis pregnancy centers operate on moral precepts, not science,” they support the measure because “women in Baltimore deserve science-based health care and should have the right to make their own moral decisions.” Opponents of this measure claim it is harassment that will prevent the centers from providing charity (material assistance) for women. But Dr. Moore and Dr. Bloom are correct in pointing out that this bill “is not about providing maternity clothes and infant formula…this is about protecting the health and well-being of two generations.”
Progress of the bill:
10/5/09- City Council President Stephanie Rawlings-Blake introduced the bill with 10 co-sponsors .
10/23/09- The bill received favorable reports from the Department of Health and the City Solicitor.
10/27/09- A hearing was held on the bill. Concerned parties from both sides of the debate gave testimony to the Judiciary and Legislative Investigations Committee and President Rawlings-Blake. You can read our live tweets from the event for highlights.
11/2/09- The Judiciary and Legislative Investigations Committee voted 3-1 in favor of the bill, sending it to the whole council with 2 minor amendments to the penalties section.
11/16/09- The Council approves the bill with minor amendments, 12-3.